Lofts lofts lofts of irons can be so confusing!
The question “what did you hit there” asked on the tee box has almost become obsolete
because lofts vary from set to set, from manufacturer to manufacturer and even in the models offered
by the same manufacturer. Comparing them all can be as confusing as comparing mobile phone
contracts! So lets break this all down so you can understand lofts and how they work. Back in the 60’s and 70’s iron sets were pretty
simple. An average set from 3 iron to pitching wedge ran from 24 to 52 degrees loft in four
degree jumps per club. The 7 iron had 40 degrees loft.
As golf has evolved through the decades, the value of marketing “distance” has been realised
and in order to say this new club goes further than that, traditional lofts have been strengthened.
Think of stamping a 6-iron with an 7-iron badge and you get the jist. You’re “happy”
because you suddenly hit your new 7-iron much further!
All of which has meant that some modern sets of 3 iron to pitching wedge run from 18 to
44 degrees! That’s some jump! So how can they do this? To answer we first need to understand there
is no industry standard regarding lofts. There really isn’t. What manufacturers often work
on instead is perceived launch. Think of a good player with three square windows stacked
in front of him. He expects his long irons to fly through the bottom window, his mid
irons through the middle window and long irons through the top window. Nowadays technology and manufacturing processes
have advanced so much that modern game improvement clubs with ultra thin faces and precisely
placed centres of gravity can achieve that balance of having stronger lofts for distance
whilst still launching through those perceived windows we spoke about. So what we are also seeing now is a defined
split. You have your game improvement clubs with those strong lofts for distance and better
players clubs are keeping an almost “retro” or standard lofting system. Lets look at some examples. Just 7-irons.
Remember I said a 7-iron used by say Jack Nicklaus in the 70’s was had about 40 degrees
loft? The new TaylorMade M3 7-iron is 30.5 degrees! The M4 is even stronger lofted at
28.5 degrees! Callaway’s Rogue 7-iron is 30 degrees and
the Rogue X is 27 degrees. Ping even have two lofts offerings in some
of their irons; their standard G700 7-iron is 29.5 degrees and their “Power Spec” version
is 28 degrees. Then you have the better player irons which
are typically blades. TaylorMade P770 irons for instance have a 7 iron loft of 33 degrees.
The new Callaway X forged 2018 is also 33 degrees. The Mizuno MP-18 7-iron is even more
traditional at 35 degrees. Of course all this creation of game improvement
clubs with stronger lofts leaves a problem at the end of your bag. If you hit your pitching
wedge 150 yards and your Sand wedge 100 yards you will need to bridge the distance gap with
one, two or three extra “Gap” wedges! So the issue of loft is not a simple one but
I hope this goes a long way to explaining it. The best advice is to not worry what club
your playing partner is hitting; choose the clubs that suit YOUR game best, and know how
far you hit YOUR own clubs. Once you’re tapping in for birdies, what else matters??!! From me for now, its Donal out!